Nutrition and your weight loss journey
With most people the word "nutrition" or "diet" brings memories of long hard days crowned with the sounds of an empty stomach and abstaining from the foods we have grown to love so much. Most of the time this is due to taking a deep dive (all or nothing) approach to dieting which does nothing but bring about yo-yo dieting.
"Result? Yo-yo dieting = Yo-yo weight"
Jumping from one dietary fad to the next does nothing for you in the long run. If anything it is dangerous and makes loosing weight harder in the future. So what do I propose?
A diet that is sustainable.
You see, food can be enjoyed and it should, but convenience has robbed us of our ability to make healthy choices. Think of it this way, if you wanted to get the equivalent amount of sugar in one can of coke, you would need to eat 4 apples, or 4 oranges, or say 30 strawberries. Sadly, not many people drink only one can a day.
The journey to a good diet starts with healthier decisions and habits built up slowly and purposefully.
Calories, your weight and what to make of it all.
Calories, a very common word yet few understand it or are willing to accept its power to hide hours of work in the gym behind layers of unwanted body fat. So lets start with some of the most important aspects of calories when it comes to weight loss;
1lbs of body fat equals roughly about 3,500kcals
to loose weight, "calories in" must be less than "calories out"; to gain weight, "calories in" must be higher than "calories out".
All this knowledge is great, but where does that leave us? For one, it creates a guideline of how to manage our meals and exercise sessions around our lifestyle. and goals. We are not going to go into TDEE and BMR but be rest assured those are important to and can be calculated easily with the help of a few online calculators. What we are going to get into is understanding that although calories are understood, learning to use this knowledge to help avoid that dreaded yo-yo dieting phenomenon is essential to living a better quality of life.
Cutting too many carbs is a recipe for failure, because it starves your body the necessary fuel it needs to operate and sends your body into a slow metabolic state in order to conserve energy. This causes loosing weight to become harder and can send you into a deeper spiral of calorie deficiency further encouraging diet hopping and eventually you giving up. With dieting, sustainability is the goal. You want to make changes that could remain a part of your life as opposed to only a snippet of it.
So what can i do?
To help we are going to give you a few steps to help you get to your goals (calorie wise):
Figure out your BMR - This is the amount of calories your body burns by just being alive and doing absolutely nothing.
Calculate your TDEE - A bit harder to do but easy to exaggerate, ideally we recommend using a fitness tracker for this (doesn't have to be fancy, even a cheap one would do). If you do not want one, you can use an online calculator but whatever you think your activity level is choose a step lower and be modest. (We have added a TDEE calculator below)
Choose a healthy weight loss goal at a sustainable rate. Loose too much too quick and you are not going to be eating enough to remain healthy, add too much too quickly and you would be adding a lot of body fat. You want to aim for at most 2lbs a week when using calorie calculators you might find online If you want to loose more, do that by increasing your activity levels rather than dropping your calories to an unhealthy level.
Figure out your macros (Proteins, carbohydrates and fats). A good general rule would be 35% protein, 45% carbs and 20% fats. However, if your goal is to loose weight this step might not be necessary. Current research does not support the idea that your macros or a certain diet are key to weight loss, postulating that overall a caloric deficit is the most important factor for weight loss or gain. That being said some macros do offer a better means of curbing appetite and adjusting mood better than others. Figuring out what works best for you is essential, as this is going to be your personal journey of discovery at the end of the day.
Put all the information you have gathered together to create a meal plan using the "Meal plan Creator" by "Eat this Much" linked below. Or you could use any of the preset ones provided below.
Get some multivitamins supplements especially if you find it hard to add variety to your meals.
Hire a trainer to teach you proper form and push you in the gym or buy a program online (However be careful with online programs as you might not be doing the exercises properly).
FREE Sample meal plans below!
Take a look at some of our free sample meal plans below. Each one comes with 3 options with snacks included!
The following meal plans are for educational purposes and are meant to give the participant an idea of what a meal plan within a certain caloric range would look like. Due to this fact you are advised to check with your health professional before adhering or adopting these meal plans.